Why We Should Forgive Even When It’s Difficult

Why should we forgive?

Forgiving someone that has harmed you is never an easy task. Sometimes people refuse to forgive because they feel the other person simply does not deserve it. Sometimes the pain is too severe and forgiveness does not seem like a real option. But why should we choose to forgive? Is it really to let the other person off the hook and to alleviate their guilt? I don’t think so.

I recently had a client that could not forgive his long time girlfriend due to infidelity. As he told their story, he discussed her behavior uncomfortably. He mentioned that she brought someone else into their home several times. He felt as if the relationship and the home itself had been tainted. Regardless, he chose to stay with her and to work on the relationship but still harbored intense, lingering feelings of anger and resentment. When we discussed forgiveness, he simply felt as if her actions did not warrant forgiveness from him. They were unforgivable.

I found his perception of forgiveness interesting. It’s a view many of us share, that forgiveness is about the other person, about casting away their sins.
I contend that it is not. Essentially, I believe, forgiveness is about YOU.

My client could, in fact, forgive without excusing his spouse’s behavior. Forgiving could be understood as a form of letting go your own anger towards someone. It’s just a shift in perception. My client could choose to forgive his spouse, and in this way, help himself move forward. The other person does not receive anything for this, they do not feel less guilt or shame. The act of forgiving is done simply for you. You are the beneficiary. Forgiveness in this way releases the burden of pain from your own shoulders and you allow yourself the opportunity to heal.

I know it’s not easy and everything isn’t perfect afterwards, but it certainly helps.
So even when it seems impossible, try to forgive. You deserve it.

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. David Davis says:

    I never looked at it this way before.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. asher slade says:

    I have to disagree with you on this one some things are unforgivable , In the case you mention I consider that to be one thing that should not be forgiven . If I were him I would end things with that vile cheating women . I would hire the best lawyer I could afford and do everything in my power to protect my assets from her getting them in the divorce . I would want to go scorched earth on her ass make sure she only left with things she came into the marriage with or could prove she purchased alone . Sorry I am not one of these soft modern men who would put up with infidelity and still allow her to live in my home or to use me for resources…. Things I will not forgive a person for cheating, lying about important things, abuse, rape, theft . That woman clearly has 0 respect or love for that man and he would be better off removing her from his life

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I definitely understand what you’re saying. In the post I am alluding to looking at forgiveness in a different way. You can seek out justice, rightfully, while still forgiving only as a means to benefit yourself, to let go of the anger. The other person does not benefit at all. Hope that makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. asher slade says:

        To me forgiving some one who wronged you in such a way is like saying what they did to you was acceptable. Like you are so low that anything done to you is your own doing or your fault. I have never and likely will never forgive my abusers and or exes for what they have done to me. I do accept what done is done but forgiving them ie giving them another chance to do me wrong in the future no man miss me with that crap.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Sometimes it is just too difficult, I understand and respect that.

        Like

  3. asher slade says:

    Not a matter of being difficult it is a matter of have self respect . Sure let got of the anger but do not forgive

    Liked by 2 people

  4. divs777 says:

    Truly agree,beautifully expressed.. Forgiving is about ‘us’ not about the other person.. It’s about our peace..I believe ” Forgiving but not Forgetting means you have not forgiven at all”..Thoughts bugs mind n destroys our own health and peace..After all it shows our personality.. Other person is certainly aware of his/her deeds which won’t get any peace.. n for crimes laws are there to punish d person of what he has done ..no one is left unpunished for their wrong /harmful deeds..no matter late.. Law of nature.. Our mind/our thuoughts/our peace😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this response! The karma part is interesting.If you believe in any sort of karma then it’s even easier to forgive isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. divs777 says:

        Yuppp.. Strongly believe.. Whatever goes comes around 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Forgiving others does benefit the offender/abuser, it’s allowing them to feel excused and they often do the same offense again. Victims are often encouraged to forgive their abusers “for their own benefit”, but it shifts the responsibility of forgiving to the victim. So many abusers find and target “nice, apologetic people who will allow themselves to be abused over and over”. I’m tired of this philosophy of forgiveness, I see it as another form of victim hood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I understand your point of view, I don’t believe that justice and forgiveness are exclusive. You can still seek out justice against someone you end up forgiving, and rightfully so. It doesn’t mean a free pass for the offender, it is a release for the victim.

      Like

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